PPP loans went to Philly museums that still laid off staff, report says

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Philadelphia-area cultural institutions received millions in Payroll Protection Program loans, but still laid off hundreds of workers, according to a recent report by AFSCME Cultural Workers United.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Zoo, and Franklin Institute, were among the most heavily subsidized local cultural institutions in the country.

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Nationally, “Museums with large endowments and multimillion-dollar budgets grabbed more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded loans and grants to fill their coffers and then tossed their workers to the curb,” wrote the report authors.

Access to PPP made companies across the economy more likely to retain or rehire employees, according to a 2021 survey of small businesses conducted by 12 Federal Reserve Banks. However, they found nearly half who received the full amount requested in federal loans still took actions to reduce their payrolls.

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